Tag Archives: weekend-wordsmith

Sign

Sign
July 7, 2008

You can take it as a sign
if you will.

I think you’d take it as a sign if the sun
rose on Tuesday,
the rain fell in Rio,
the sky grew dark at dusk,
or the ibis’ call sounded
particularly morose.

You’d draw in your bone-dry fleece,
and decide you misunderstood your question.

You hear the still small voice
promising war amidst the howling
newsboys announcing armistice,
the bluebird whispering happiness over the sirens.

In the comets and lightning,
you see a sign to cast in your lot
with Julius.

Obligations to Ire

Obligations To Ire

For the Weekend Wordsmith prompt Carrying A Grudge.

It takes enormous endurance
to remain angry,
even when you provide fresh reasons
day following day,
reopening wounds so old,
the original injury is a blur
in the broken rear-view mirror.

Sure, it flares up, fueled
by your careless actions,
selfish remarks, and callous manners,
but, most days, the petulant child
that you have become
merely buzzes, a trapped blue bottle
battering the panes
on a summer day when I’d rather
just be reading by the creek.

The grudge, long since
become an immovable burden,
shackled to me by a cable
of hatred and weary rage,
is too, too heavy to carry —
more like drag.

But so sure as I unfetter,
and try to escape,
you fling a hawser or two
around my raw, chafed ankles,
and remind me of my
obligations to ire.

Storms

Storms

We stand here, high on the hill,
and watch the rains come
like an African monsoon
sweeping across the desiccated
plains, dry dusty barren.

So many of these storms
lately, we just watch it come,
resigned
to the deluge that we know
we can’t run fast enough
to escape. Our sadness

washes around us, even
as the rain, so long in coming,
so feared and so anticipated,
soaks our upturned faces,
hides our tears.

All very cliché, of course,
which isn’t to say it’s not real,
just that it’s universal.

No one gets to their heaven
without a fight.

And some never
get there at all,
though they fight, seemingly,
without a respite
while the storm rages.

Those of us who have found
it, by persistence or dumb luck,
may, now and then, offer
a brief shelter
to those who, so far, haven’t.

Framed


Yesterday I drove past that place
I used to live,
on the way home to you.

I cowered behind that very window,
afraid
of the world outside,
afraid
that it wouldn’t miss me,
that it wouldn’t notice
that I had vanished behind that frame.

I watched, through that frame,
others living the life
I could not live,
because I was
afraid,
I knew not of what,

nor why I had been exiled
to this penitentiary
which I paid good money
to inhabit.

There, framed in that window,
another lonely soul
gazed out at me, wondering
if I saw as I went on my way,
past this refuge of those
too young to have lived,
and those done with it.

Morning At Olderkessi

From the Weekend Wordsmith prompt, “That’s What I Heard.”

Morning At Olderkessi
March 14, 2008

The clatter from the kitchen wakens
me, but I don’t open my eyes.
Not yet.

The acacia outside the window
claws gently at the pane,
a light scratching,
and the owl, who’s been there
all night, whoo-whoos one more time,
and flaps noisily off to find
somewhere to sleep through the day.

A cough, off in the forest,
as a leopard drags her kill
up into the branches,
and the chilling almost-laugh
of the hyena that follows
her, hoping to steal
a mouthful.

A snatch of a tune from the kitchen,
the sound of frying bacon
and the glub glub of the percolator
producing that foul black tar
the grownups need to get them going.

I burrow down further into the dark
warm Raymond’s blankets, listen
as the superb starling settles
on the parched grass, screams
“Come see! Come see! Come see!”
The ibis laughs mockingly,
telling its friends of this upstart.

Down at the creek, already,
the kangas slap on the rocks,
and the women begin the song
of their day’s work.

Far, far away, the train whistles,
and the sun warms my face.

Sticks and Stones


From Weekend Wordsmith

Sticks and Stones

March 14, 2008

All day we labored
with sticks and stones, to build
this edifice to our own ingenuity.
A boulder rolled there, and a few sticks
wedged in over here,
and the rushing stream became
a still, deep swimming hole.
Flushed by our success and exertions,
we floated on our backs,
watching the red-tailed kite,
so far up in the blue, we knew
him only by him cry.

He tore it down with a single word.
Our dam was making his cows thirsty.
The afternoon amusement
of four boys was causing a village
a great deal of discomfort.
What was, to us, a quiet place
to dip our toes, was their pantry,
and we had withheld the bounty
which was not ours.

MEMORY

MEMORY
The Weekend Wordsmith this week reminded me of a tiny neglected cemetery on Nicholasville Road, right before Regency Center (heading North), on the edge of a parking lot. You can’t quite see it from the road. You could even park there and not notice it. All that remains is perhaps 4 headstones, only two of which are actually still legible.

And one broken stone on which the only thing legible is one word.

MEMORY
January 26, 2008

Stepping over the tumble-down
rock wall into the past,
the chill of the wind
chewing at our fingers
and noses, the urge
to move on and forget
resisted for just a moment.

A few broken stones,
all that is left to remember
these lives.

John died in 1885,
aged 46.
Martha Tull, a beloved
mother, departed from us.

And this one, only
MEMORY
and nothing more.

Our three score and ten,
and nothing more,
leaving only

MEMORY.